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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

2008 ZiPS Projections - Chicago Cubs

It always feels to me like I should be mocking them for something, but there just isn’t a lot for me to complain about.  The Cubs aren’t an elite organization, but I think they’re still the best in the Central and don’t have any gaping holes.  This team wouldn’t compete in the AL East or Central and would need some luck in the AL West, but they don’t have to worry about that.  When I look at the roster, I feel like there are only a few players that Ed Wade would sign for the Astros, which is a Very Good Thing - much is made about teams with ex-Cubs not winning the World Series, but I think the current-Astros curse will be considerably more potent the next couple of years.  Really, the only thing I can whine about is the team just doesn’t like Matt Murton.

No, I will not projection Josh Vitters.


Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Derrek Lee           1b 32 .300 .382 .517 123 460 76 138 32 1 22 78 57 97 7 3
Aramis Ramirez       3b 30 .292 .354 .531 138 524 78 153 32 3 29 100 46 62 1 1
Kosuke Fukudome*      rf 31 .293 .382 .460 120 457 66 134 33 2 13 67 64 100 1 1
AVERAGE 1B——————- 1b——.282 .359 .489—————————————————————
Alfonso Soriano       lf 32 .286 .336 .527 141 588 97 168 39 2 33 99 39 133 28 9
Matt Murton         lf 26 .289 .360 .465 156 471 71 136 27 1 18 63 51 67 3 0
AVERAGE LF——————- lf——.281 .352 .469—————————————————————
AVERAGE RF——————- rf——.280 .349 .471—————————————————————
Geovany Soto         c   25 .284 .342 .483 139 458 44 130 29 1 20 73 41 109 0 0
AVERAGE 3B——————- 3b——.277 .346 .457—————————————————————
AVERAGE CF——————- cf——.275 .339 .433—————————————————————
AVERAGE 2B——————- 2b——.279 .340 .422————————————————————-
Micah Hoffpauir*      1b 28 .265 .321 .459 105 370 36 98 22 1 16 61 30 65 2 1
Mark DeRosa         2b 33 .276 .349 .405 125 417 56 115 23 2 9 55 43 83 1 2
Daryle Ward*        1b 33 .263 .342 .413 87 179 21 47 12 0 5 30 21 35 0 1
AVERAGE SS——————- ss——.277 .332 .415—————————————————————
Mike Fontenot*        2b 28 .268 .333 .412 144 456 65 122 29 5 9 48 44 86 7 4
Matt Craig#          3b 27 .256 .326 .421 122 399 44 102 26 2 12 52 38 103 3 1
Felix Pie*          cf 23 .269 .321 .429 148 539 71 145 27 7 15 61 40 122 20 9
AVERAGE C———————- c——.263 .324 .412—————————————————————
Josh Kroeger*        rf 25 .257 .307 .439 129 456 49 117 28 2 17 59 31 118 8 4
Jake Fox           c   25 .254 .301 .439 124 465 43 118 30 1 18 64 23 113 5 2
Sam Fuld*          cf 26 .261 .329 .377 114 403 59 105 28 2 5 34 36 62 14 3
Eric Patterson*      2b 25 .264 .318 .406 151 571 73 151 27 6 14 61 44 103 28 11
Steve Clevenger*      1b 22 .281 .321 .362 93 334 36 94 18 0 3 29 20 29 1 1
Ryan Theriot         ss 28 .266 .324 .348 143 492 71 131 25 3 3 42 41 51 25 4
Ronny Cedeno         ss 25 .271 .312 .398 141 462 52 125 20 3 11 48 26 86 9 7
Henry Blanco         c   36 .235 .286 .383 51 149 14 35 8 1 4 20 10 26 0 0
Koyie Hill#          c   29 .237 .292 .351 64 194 17 46 13 0 3 20 15 35 1 1
Casey McGehee         3b 25 .243 .288 .361 140 502 42 122 30 1 9 53 32 95 1 3
Brian Dopirak         1b 24 .233 .278 .370 106 386 26 90 23 0 10 42 22 111 1 1
Tyler Colvin*        cf 22 .236 .267 .380 136 518 50 122 33 3 12 60 18 143 17 9
Nate Spears*        2b 23 .222 .289 .297 130 414 46 92 18 2 3 29 32 80 7 2
Chris Walker         cf 27 .247 .289 .329 100 356 35 88 13 2 4 29 19 82 17 13
Ryan Harvey         rf 23 .210 .239 .365 95 353 28 74 16 0 13 40 12 106 2 1

* - Bats Left
# = Switch-Hitter

Name           CThr 1b 2b 3b ss lf cf rf
Lee               Av            
Ramirez               Av        
Fukudome*                  Vg Av Vg
Soriano                   Vg Av  
Murton                     Av   Fr
Soto           Av   Av            
Hoffpauir*          Av       Fr   Fr
DeRosa               Av Vg Pr Av   Av
Ward*            Fr       Pr   Pr
Fontenot*            Av Av Pr      
Craig#            Av   Pr        
Pie*                      Vg Av Vg
Kroeger*          Fr       Fr   Fr
Fox           Fr   Av       Pr   Pr
Fuld*                    Vg Vg Vg
Patterson*            Fr     Av Av Av
Clevenger*      Fr   Av            
Theriot             Av Av Av Av   Av
Cedeno               Av   Av      
Blanco         Vg   Av            
Hill#          Av                
McGehee         Pr   Av   Fr        
Dopirak           Av            
Colvin*                    Vg Av  
Spears*              Av          
Walker                     Av Fr Av
Harvey                     Vg   Vg    

Player Spotlight - Derrek Lee
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ DR
Optimistic (15%)  .327 .414 .578 129 483 92 158 41 1 26 94 67 88 10 3 150   3  
Mean         .300 .382 .517 123 460 76 138 32 1 22 78 57 97 7 3 127   0
Pessimistic (15%) .270 .343 .458 111 415 59 112 27 0 17 63 45 97 4 4 102 -2

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Pedro Guerrero, Bob Watson

Player Spotlight - Felix Pie
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ DR
Optimistic (15%)  .302 .362 .505 160 582 92 176 35 10 21 92 54 112 29 6 119   8  
Mean         .269 .321 .429 148 539 71 145 27 7 15 61 40 122 20 9   89   5  
Pessimistic (15%) .239 .282 .364 130 473 50 113 21 4 10 52 28 116 11 9   63   1

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Corey Patterson, Dave Martinez

Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Bobby Howry           34   3.16   7   6 76   0   74.0   65   26   7   17   67
Mike Wuertz           29   3.33   4   3 69   0   73.0   60   27   7   32   84
Carlos Zambrano       27   3.70 14 11 32 32   207.0 177   85 22 100 189
Kerry Wood           31   3.72   2   1 30   0   29.0   23   12   4   14   33
Carlos Marmol         25   3.77   5   3 77   0   86.0   71   36 10   50   93
Scott Eyre*          36   3.81   2   1 67   0   59.0   53   25   6   31   60
Rich Hill*          28   3.88 10   9 31 29   181.0 160   78 27   60 190
Neal Cotts*          28   4.08   2   2 59   0   64.0   58   29   7   35   58
Carmen Pignatiello*    25   4.24   3   3 56   0   70.0   68   33   8   28   57
Ted Lilly*          32   4.24 12 12 31 31   176.0 165   83 25   67 158
Ryan Dempster         31   4.25   5   5 70   0   72.0   68   34   7   34   62
LEAGUE AVERAGE RELIEVER———4.36———————————————————————-
Jose Ascanio         23   4.50   3   4 49   3   88.0   91   44   8   39   55
Angel Guzman         26   4.64   3   3 17 12   66.0   67   34   8   28   56
Juan Mateo           24   4.64   6   9 29 23   130.0 134   67 16   45   93
LEAGUE AVERAGE STARTER———- 4.78———————————————————————-
Sean Gallagher         22   4.91   6   9 29 24   143.0 144   78 16   79 104
Sean Marshall*        25   4.97   6   8 22 21   116.0 124   64 17   49   75
Jason Marquis         29   5.06   9 14 30 29   176.0 189   99 28   66   96
Les Walrond*          31   5.11   5   8 25 19   118.0 128   67 17   52   77
Billy Petrick         24   5.12   2   2 37   0   51.0   54   29   9   19   34
Wade Miller           31   5.14   2   3 13 13   63.0   67   36   9   32   45
Steve Trachsel         37   5.20   5 10 23 23   128.0 141   74 19   57   62
Adam Harben           24   5.61   3   7 21 17   93.0 103   58 10   61   45
Donald Veal*          23   5.72   6 12 29 28   140.0 141   89 23 110 115
Kevin Hart           26   5.73   5 11 29 25   154.0 168   98 30   69 107
Mark Holliman         24   5.89   6 13 25 24   142.0 160   93 28   73   83
Ryan O’Malley*        28   6.15   4   9 29 19   120.0 146   82 26   40   58
Tim Lahey           26   6.19   3   8 51   0   80.0   92   55 14   43   47
Jeff Samardzija       23   6.27   3   8 21 19   99.0 122   69 20   39   37
Mike Nannini         28   6.90   1   5 35   5   73.0   86   56 21   36   53
Mitchell Atkins       22   7.16   4 14 27 25   137.0 166 109 40   73   82

* - Throws Left

Player Spotlight - Ted Lilly
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Optimistic (15%)  3.57 16 10 34 34 199 172   79 25   67 188   129
Mean           4.24 12 12 31 31 176 165   83 25   67 158   109
Pessimistic (15%)  5.28   7 12 25 25 138 144   81 25   62 114   87

Top Near-Age Comps:  Floyd Bannister, Howie Pollet

Player Spotlight - Carlos Zambrano
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Optimistic (15%)  3.04 18   8 34 34 228 179   77 20   97 217   152
Mean           3.70 14 11 32 32 207 177   85 22 100 189   125
Pessimistic (15%)  4.53   9 11 26 26 163 153   82 21   92 137   102

Top Near-Age Comps:  Andy Messersmith, Pete Harnisch

Disclaimer:  ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. 
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2008. 
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example.  Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. 
This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in
the offseason. 

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.49 ERA and the NL having a 4.40 ERA.

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Twins

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Brewers

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Astros

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Marlins

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Tigers

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Rockies

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Indians

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Reds

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White Sox

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Dan Szymborski Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:07 PM | 106 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:17 PM (#2664571)
Any way to project Dempster as a starter, seeing's how the Cubs seem bound and determined to put him in the rotation?
   2. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:23 PM (#2664584)
Dempster as a starter:

9-11, 4.96, 1.1 HR/9, 4.1 BB/9, 6.7 K/9
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#2664587)
Neal Cotts is a starter too now, isn't he?
   4. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#2664588)
Thanks. (That's actually a little better than I would've guessed.)

So basically, I was right on when I speculated that Marquis and Dempster wouldn't be any better than Gallagher and Marshall, who may be headed to the Orioles in a Roberts deal. But at least they don't project as much worse (this year, at least).
   5. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#2664590)
I didn't even know Cotts was still in the organization.
   6. Al Kaline Trio Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:30 PM (#2664595)
What's the deal with Soto? That's an impressive line for a catcher.
   7. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2664599)
6 above positional average hitters plus Pie? I can live with that.

Sean Marshall does not fare well by ZIPS and there are a lot of question marks after the top 3 starting pitchers. At least the bullpen looks good...

As sad as I am to say it, I would take that line from Dempster.
   8. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2664601)
The deal with Soto is that he's pretty damned good.
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#2664604)
What's the deal with Soto? That's an impressive line for a catcher.

He lost 20-30 lbs. before 2007 when the won the PCL MVP and posted 10 VORP in the majors in a ridiculously small number of ABs. Chicago's improvement at catcher from 2007 to 2008 will be drastic.
   10. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#2664605)
Well, if Dempster actually puts up that line, that's not really "sad to say;" that's a slightly-below-average line from a guy who's no more than your 4th starter. Not that I'm excited at having him and a clone (Marquis) in the rotation at the same time.
   11. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:33 PM (#2664606)
Jesus, Geovany Soto is awesome. Where the hell did he come from? What were the Cubs doing with Jason Kendall??
   12. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:35 PM (#2664609)
To elaborate on Pops' comments re Soto: '07 was his third year in AAA, but he was a full-time AAA-er at 22, and he held his own there his first two years before going all apeshite last year at 24. Plus, his defense appears quite good. He's going to a be a fine player.
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:36 PM (#2664611)
11:

I have no idea why the Cubs didn't call up Soto after the Barrett trade, or at least after Bowen/Hill (predictably) proved to be a screaming vortex of suck.
   14. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:41 PM (#2664616)
From an organizational soldier POV, Hill outranked Soto for the major league filler slot.

It should be noted that Bowen was tried as the starting catcher. Leaving Soto in Iowa may have been done to get him everyday play.

I agree that Chicago went with Kendall for too long.
   15. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:43 PM (#2664618)
Dan, why do you think ZiPS is so down on Eric Patterson. I'm kind of shocked he projects to be a worse overall hitter than a highly flawed guy like Sam Fuld.
   16. Red Robot Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:44 PM (#2664619)
Re: Felix Pie's comps.

Nice choice. Do you hate Cubs fans?
   17. Al Kaline Trio Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:44 PM (#2664620)
Looks like I have a new fantasy sleeper pick this year.
   18. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:47 PM (#2664623)
Nice choice. Do you hate Cubs fans?

BPro has the same #1 comp. I think their swings are sufficiently different that I'm not so worried about it. CPat had a very long stroke. I think Pie will have to change his approach to increase contact at the expense of power at the ML level (which is why I don't give up on him after his poor play in Chicago last year - these adjustments take time) but I think he has an easier transition to make.
   19. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:50 PM (#2664627)
It always feels to me like I should be mocking them for something, but there just isn't a lot for me to complain about. The Cubs aren't an elite organization, but I think they're still the best in the Central and don't have any gaping holes.

Ryan Theriot fan?
   20. BurlyBuehrle Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:54 PM (#2664632)
The numbers look a little weak for Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano. Not that I'm complaining. Is this because Lee drops into the "power hitters decline faster than speed guys" mold, or is it something else? How about Soriano?
   21. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:10 PM (#2664651)
13: Soto didn't get the initial call-up because he had a mild shoulder injury; he was playing 1B and DH at Iowa because he couldn't throw the ball at the time.

Now, why they didn't call him up instead of wasting time with Kendall, that's a real humdinger - because Soto was healthy again by then.
   22. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2664665)
That optimistic projection on Pie sounds, well, optimistic, but that'd be awfully nice if he can pull that off. 23-year-old CF with a 119 OPS+ and phenomenal defense? I'll take 2, thanks.

Along those lines--I've said this before, but despite the apparent similarities between Patterson and Pie, I think Pie's a significantly better prospect than Patterson was. He's about 2 years younger for his minor league levels than Patterson was, and he's outhit him at every level (except the majors--yet).
   23. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:25 PM (#2664673)
I agree that Chicago went with Kendall for too long.

Well, they got a few pretty good weeks out of Kendall (relatively speaking, at least, which is to say "good OBP with no power and wretched D"), and once he started to tank, Lou put Soto in there pretty quickly. But given Soto's year in the PCL and Kendall being Kendall, the trade was pretty pointless. Not that they gave anything up (Bowen).
   24. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:29 PM (#2664677)
And to reiterate the nickname I coined for Soto during a game chatter last year, of which I'm especially proud:

DON GEOVANY!
   25. DCW3 Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:36 PM (#2664683)
The numbers look a little weak for Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano. Not that I'm complaining. Is this because Lee drops into the "power hitters decline faster than speed guys" mold, or is it something else? How about Soriano?

Well, ZiPS has famously underpredicted Soriano by a pretty wide margin each of the last two years. On the other hand, over the past three seasons he's hit .281/.333/.543, which is really pretty close to his ZiPS here.
   26. Honkie Kong Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:36 PM (#2664684)
Thats a nice freaking projection for Soto. And even more impressive projection for the Cubs pitchers. The Orioles, typically, were rumored to get the 2 worst!

No, I will not projection Josh Vitters.

projection is a verb now?
   27. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:48 PM (#2664694)
Oh, and the ZiPS for Ascanio sez the Angel Pagan trade is a mugging of Omar by Jim Hendry.
   28. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:49 PM (#2664696)
Ascanio came over for Infante/Ohman.
   29. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:55 PM (#2664706)
I like these. No complaints. And if the Cubs give up Gallagher/Marshall/Cedeno for Roberts I'll be even more happy. Murton/Ward/Fuld/DeRosa is a pretty damn good bench, IMO. I'm still worried about 4/5 in the rotation, and I bet Hart will be there at some point. No need to sign any more veteran retreads for depth, Hendry, please.

---

Szym, what would Roberts projection in Wrigley be?
   30. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:56 PM (#2664708)
That is strange. I don't know what caused me to confuse Myers with Ascanio.

Anyway, ZiPS sez the Ohman/Infante trade is a mugging of Wren by Jim Hendry.
   31. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:58 PM (#2664711)
So I'm confused; does Ryan Theriot not count as a "glaring hole?" Does he have a coupon or something?
   32. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:12 PM (#2664731)
I suppose Theriot could be called a "glaring hole," but he's probably more just "below average." And I suspect he'll see less PT this year than he did last, though it'll be interesting to see how Piniella makes that work. If the Roberts trade goes through, I suspect either he or DeRosa could see some time at short. The team would take a defensive hit, but it'd minimize the effect of Theriot's weak bat.

Anyway, even if he's the starting shortstop, I won't be that upset. Unless Piniella keeps him in the 2 hole, in which case I'll be seriously annoyed, particularly if they trade for Roberts. Roberts/Fukudome hitting 1/2 would be a no-brainer.
   33. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:14 PM (#2664733)
Oh--and remind me again why we were supposed to be excited about Samardzija? I know he's in the low minors, but that projection's just fugly, especially the peripherals.
   34. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:17 PM (#2664743)
Fukudome should be 7-3 SB-CS, not 1-0.
   35. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:19 PM (#2664747)
Roberts/Fukudome hitting 1/2 would be a no-brainer.

They are both left handed. I would hit Lee in the 2 spot.

Roberts
Lee
Soriano
Ramirez
Fukudome
Soto
Theriot/DeRosa/????
Pie

That looks like a team who will score some runs... probably give up a lot of runs on 2 days out of 5 but hey...
   36. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:22 PM (#2664750)
Roberts is a switchy, though stronger from the left side.
   37. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:22 PM (#2664751)
Hm...thought Fukudome was supposed to be faster than that. Well, whatever.
   38. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:24 PM (#2664757)
Oh--and remind me again why we were supposed to be excited about Samardzija? I know he's in the low minors, but that projection's just fugly, especially the peripherals.

He went to Notre Dame!!!! And played football!!! He was coached by the god that is known by humans as Charlie Weis!

Do you really need any baseball reasons?
   39. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:26 PM (#2664761)
He went to Notre Dame!!!! And played football!!! He was coached by the god that is known by humans as Charlie Weis!

Do you really need any baseball reasons?


My bad. So he'll close for us this year, then?
   40. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:27 PM (#2664764)
"Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Corey Patterson, Dave Martinez"

I'm sure Cubs fans'll love that.

"Oh--and remind me again why we were supposed to be excited about Samardzija?"

He went to Notre Dame!
   41. Weeks T. Olive Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:30 PM (#2664769)
Roberts
Lee
Soriano
Ramirez
Fukudome
Soto
Theriot/DeRosa/????
Pie


I would actually switch Soriano and Fukudome in that lineup, but I'm not sure that Lou would want to go with an unproven guy in the #3 spot. Still, it makes a ton more sense to break up the Lee-Soriano-Ramirez RHB bats and to put Fukudome's theoretical OBP in front of Ramirez and Soriano.
   42. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:31 PM (#2664772)
If Soriano hits anywhere that first, he's really going to have to improve on his RISP numbers, especially his man on 3rd, less than 2 outs: .071/.200/.071.
   43. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:32 PM (#2664774)
he's really going to have to improve on his RISP numbers, especially his man on 3rd, less than 2 outs: .071/.200/.071.

Geez. Well, I suppose he can't get much *worse* than that, at least...

How many PAs is that, anyway?
   44. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:41 PM (#2664787)
I don't know how many Pies but that's 14 ABs.
   45. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:42 PM (#2664789)
14.

He wasn't terrible overall with RISP, but that was ridiculously flukey bad. I remember posting about it at during the season. I think he actually struck out on the majority of those AB's also, so he had maybe 1 rbi.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:42 PM (#2664791)
How in the world does Murton project that well? Does 2005 and 151 AAA AB in 2007 really have that much influence?

As it stands, the back-end of the rotation looks fine. Guzman (clearly not needed in the pen), Mateo, Gallagher, Marshall, Dempster, Marquis ... Marquis's the worst of the bunch and he projects to about a 92 ERA+. Remember, the typical team gives about 40-45 starts to guys with ERA+ of 85 or worse -- due to random variation, the Cubs will surely still have some but things would have to be pretty disastrous (or ZiPS horribly wrong!) for the Cubs to not be better than most teams on that measure. And they're better than most teams at the top of the rotation ... let's hope for health. (I am worried about what Z's walk rates might portend)

As someone who spoke out in favor of the Lilly signing, I'm going to brag now ... before he posts that pessimistic projection. :-)

Micah Hoffpauir*

Now that's a great name.

But what is it with all these Micah's running around these days? Probably all home-schooled.
   47. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:46 PM (#2664798)
I'm sort of a Murton fanboy, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him do that well if given the playing time.
   48. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:48 PM (#2664800)
Roberts is a switchy, though stronger from the left side.

My apologies. Those responsible for the errors in this thread have just been sacked.
   49. Weeks T. Olive Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:48 PM (#2664801)
As it stands, the back-end of the rotation looks fine. Guzman (clearly not needed in the pen), Mateo, Gallagher, Marshall, Dempster, Marquis ... Marquis's the worst of the bunch and he projects to about a 92 ERA+.

Guzman had TJS in the middle of last season, so he won't be around until late '08, if then at all. Gallagher and Marshall are reportedly about to get shipped off for Roberts, so that leaves Marquis, Dempster, and Mateo from your list (Hart must be SP #6 at this point, and I'd guess Veal is in the mix, too). So I don't know that "looks fine" is the right word choice. "Shouldn't be awful" might be better.

Still, as you say, even with the Guzman, Marshall, and Gallagher losses, the Cubs' rotation should be better than most.
   50. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:48 PM (#2664803)
Guzman (clearly not needed in the pen), Mateo, Gallagher, Marshall, Dempster, Marquis ...

Well, the rumored Roberts trade has Gallagher and Marshall leaving, so that really reduces that depth. Isn't Guzman going to miss quite a bit of next year anyway? That leaves Mateo, Hart, etc to pick up when Marquis gets trashed again.

I fully expect Dempster to be better than Marquis and to remain in the rotation all season, barring injury.
   51. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:52 PM (#2664809)
Has Mateo had injury issues? Those are some low IsPed the last couple of years.

I would imagine that Hart is the 6th guy and that is an ugly ZiPS. I wonder how many guys are between Marquis/Dempster and Les Walrond in the Cubs' opinion?
   52. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:54 PM (#2664812)
My apologies. Those responsible for the errors in this thread have just been sacked.

Whi not tri a holiday in Chicago this yer? See the loveli lake...
   53. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:54 PM (#2664813)
It also bears noting that the depth of the pen will mitigate problems at the back end of the rotation. Guys like Pignatello, Petrick and Ascanio will help to competently shoulder the load of innings which are likely to get shifted.
   54. Ennder Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:54 PM (#2664814)
Soto is this years Ianetta, the rookie C with the .800+ OPS projection that probably won't reach it. I'm not buying that losing a little weight turned him from a mediocre C to a stud C in one season, more likely he just had a hot year since it was his 3rd year in AAA but I'll eat my hat if he hits that projection in the majors in 2008.
   55. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:57 PM (#2664820)
Soto is this years Ianetta, the rookie C with the .800+ OPS projection that probably won't reach it. I'm not buying that losing a little weight turned him from a mediocre C to a stud C in one season, more likely he just had a hot year since it was his 3rd year in AAA but I'll eat my hat if he hits that projection in the majors in 2008.

An actual hat or an angel food cake hat?

FWIW (and that's probably not much), but he looked like that good of a hitter in his time in the majors last year. Sometimes guys figure things out. Maybe this is the case here.
   56. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:58 PM (#2664824)
Except Soto *wasn't* really mediocre before last year. He was an average hitter in the PCL as a 22/23-year-old catcher, which should project as at least a decent MLB catcher by his mid-20s. I don't expect him to sustain his '07 level, but the projection's well within his reach.
   57. Honkie Kong Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:58 PM (#2664825)
Why you getting all psyched up about Ascanio's projection, Pops? Those 80+ ip looks good, but then, there is the dreaded disclaimer.
   58. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:59 PM (#2664828)
Yeah, I guess I'm more excited at getting rid of Will Ohman than I am at getting Ascanio.
   59. Ennder Posted: January 09, 2008 at 09:59 PM (#2664829)
An Indiana Jones Hat!

yes sometimes guys just figure it out and I expect him to do better than his normal minor league year, I'm just not buying him being one of the best C's in baseball as a rookie. Not going just from a small sample in the majors and his 3rd season in AAA.
   60. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:01 PM (#2664831)
Why you getting all psyched up about Ascanio's projection, Pops?

Because Will Ohman haunts my dreams and Infante was a 2B in Chicago who couldn't hit - i.e. more redundant than a left handed reliever on an Ed Wade squad.
   61. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:03 PM (#2664838)
Eric, if you had to ballpark it, what would you say?
   62. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:04 PM (#2664841)
I'd imagine the projection takes the fact that it was Soto's third year in AAA into account to some degree, doesn't it? (Honest question--I don't know.) In any event--he was blocked by Barrett before last year, and even if we assume he was over his head last year, which is reasonable (I think Soto's a good hitter, but I don't think he's frickin' Piazza), I don't think the projection's unrealistic. If I had to guess, I'd say he'll fall a little short of the projected BA, but the power and walk numbers are completely realistic.
   63. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:04 PM (#2664842)
My apologies. Those responsible for the errors in this thread have just been sacked.


Whi not tri a holiday in Chicago this yer? See the loveli lake...

Mynd you, Cub bites Kan be pretty nasti...
   64. Spahn Insane Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:06 PM (#2664848)
A Kub once bit mi syster...
   65. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:26 PM (#2664874)
I don't think Soto will reach that projection this year.
   66. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:27 PM (#2664875)
But I've been wrong before.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:31 PM (#2664879)
Not going just from a small sample in the majors and his 3rd season in AAA.

But of course ZiPS is taking more than that into account -- Dan's no dummy. ZiPS might have some flaws, but ignoring 2005-2006 is not one of them.

I'm sort of a Murton fanboy, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him do that well if given the playing time.

This is sort of the reverse of what I just said. What you say may be exactly right, but ZiPS is not (directly) able to incorporate that sort of information. It goes on actual past performance and, to an extent, the "future" performance of a player's comps (I'm assuming based on Dan's comments elsewhere). I suppose enough of those comps could have outperformed their projections (i.e. where I think their projections maybe should be) and those would boost Murton's numbers.

I'm just curious as to why Murton projects so well since it doesn't seem to me that he would. He looked really good in 2005 and during his short AAA stint in 2007, but his last nearly 800 PA in the majors has him at league average performance (not league average LF/RF performance). I wouldn't think that would add up to an average (or slightly better) LF projection ... though he is moving into his prime.

So Dan, is it 2005? his comps? moving into his prime? Or just, contrary to my expectation, there's nothing "unusual" about this projection.

I'm guessing the explanation goes something like this: "Walt, you don't have an intuitively good grasp of the AAA/MLB conversions (I don't). If you include his MLEs, Murton's 2005 comes out as a nearly full season of (oh) 125 OPS+ and if you include his 150 AAA AB in 2007, those were so good they pull him up to about a 115 OPS+. If you did a simple Marcel on those three years, you'll get about a 110-115 OPS+ and add in the prime and viola!"

Then I'll call Dan an asshat, point out that's not how you spell "voila" and we can move on. :-)
   68. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:34 PM (#2664886)
(I don't)

That was supposed to be me admitting that I don't have that intuitive understanding, not Dan saying he doesn't. :-)
   69. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:43 PM (#2664899)
So Dan, is it 2005? his comps? moving into his prime? Or just, contrary to my expectation, there's nothing "unusual" about this projection.


Murton's last 4 years, combined MLE and MLB performance:

2004: 248/308/377
2005: 307/368/454
2006: 293/358/439
2007: 287/356/472

Weighted 7-5-4-1, that 4 years comes out to 292/358/451. ZiPS isn't projecting a huge improvement, but a quite modest one, simply a couple of extra homers replacing a couple of singles and triples and another walk or two, to get from 292/358/451 to 289/360/465.
   70. Ennder Posted: January 09, 2008 at 10:48 PM (#2664906)
But of course ZiPS is taking more than that into account -- Dan's no dummy. ZiPS might have some flaws, but ignoring 2005-2006 is not one of them


yes but ZiPs and projections in general seem to fail on high upside C's a lot, seems every season a young C gets flagged as .800+ OPS, gets all hyped up in the fantasy circle and fails to reach that level and in my opinion this season it will be Soto.
   71. tomdaddydollars Posted: January 09, 2008 at 11:31 PM (#2664930)
Soto is this years Ianetta, the rookie C with the .800+ OPS projection that probably won't reach it. I'm not buying that losing a little weight turned him from a mediocre C to a stud C in one season, more likely he just had a hot year since it was his 3rd year in AAA but I'll eat my hat if he hits that projection in the majors in 2008.


Except that Soto will continue to play if he doesn't hit, because the Cubs' other options are Koyie Hill and Henry Blanco.
   72. Frisco Cali Posted: January 09, 2008 at 11:36 PM (#2664931)
Weighted 7-5-4-1, that 4 years comes out to 292/358/451. ZiPS isn't projecting a huge improvement, but a quite modest one, simply a couple of extra homers replacing a couple of singles and triples and another walk or two, to get from 292/358/451 to 289/360/465.

Asshat.

Thanks for the explanation. I, too, was wondering about Murton's projection.
   73. caprules Posted: January 09, 2008 at 11:52 PM (#2664937)
How many players other than Murton have been projected to be better than position league average and not expect to be a starter? I would guess that some relievers might be included in there, but I don't recall seeing many position players like that.
   74. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 10, 2008 at 12:01 AM (#2664941)
Should the trade for Roberts go down as reported, the Cubs would still have Murton and they would hold Roberts who is a hair's breadth from projecting as a league average 2B.
   75. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 10, 2008 at 12:12 AM (#2664950)
Brain cramp - I meant DeRosa would be the bench guy.
   76. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 10, 2008 at 12:14 AM (#2664952)
It always feels to me like I should be mocking them for something...
I think that this is what rubs some people the wrong way about sabermetrics.
   77. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 10, 2008 at 12:37 AM (#2664966)
You must not read retro-shiite's posts in the occasional Cardinals thread.
   78. Spahn Insane Posted: January 10, 2008 at 01:15 AM (#2665007)
You must not read retro-shiite's posts in the occasional Cardinals thread.

Well, that was out of left field...
   79. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: January 10, 2008 at 02:34 AM (#2665071)
You must not read retro-shiite's posts in the occasional Cardinals thread.
I caught that thread around Christmas. I think it actually led to a detente between kevin and Nieporent.
   80. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: January 10, 2008 at 02:48 AM (#2665089)
Micah apparently means "who is like God" in Hebrew, while Michael apparently means "who is like God?". A little question mark makes all the difference.

The Cubs should indeed be favourites in the NL Central.
   81. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: January 10, 2008 at 02:52 AM (#2665091)
The Cubs should indeed be favourites in the NL Central.


And thus go to the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since the last '07-'08.
   82. harrball Posted: January 10, 2008 at 03:48 AM (#2665123)
Dan - What's the optimistic projection for Murton?
   83. Spahn Insane Posted: January 10, 2008 at 03:52 AM (#2665125)
I caught that thread around Christmas. I think it actually led to a detente between kevin and Nieporent.

The detente between kevin and Nieporent preceded it, if it's the one I'm thinking of. However, that thread did seem to get me and others involved in the kevin/Nieporent OPaCY summit.
   84. Red Robot Posted: January 10, 2008 at 07:02 AM (#2665208)
I have a question that has been bugging me since last year. Ronny Cedeno has been great in each of his two shots at AAA Iowa (.355/.403/.518 at age 22 and .359/.422/.537 at age 24). Cedeno's ZIPS projection is a little bit better than Theriot's (slightly worse on-base skills but more power). Cedeno plays better SS defense than Theriot and is three years younger. Why does no one talk about Cedeno as a viable threat to take over the SS job this year?

I know that Cedeno hasn't exactly distinguished himself at the MLB level, while Theriot has almost held his own. I know that Lou loves scrappy little Theriot. But isn't Cedeno currently the Cubs best option at SS for 2008 and beyond? Am I missing something (other than they are both mediocre SS anyway)?
   85. I Am Not a Number Posted: January 10, 2008 at 02:01 PM (#2665276)
Roberts
Lee
Soriano
Ramirez
Fukudome
Soto
Theriot/DeRosa/????
Pie

I would actually switch Soriano and Fukudome in that lineup, but I'm not sure that Lou would want to go with an unproven guy in the #3 spot.


An argument can be made that the #5 hitter is likely to lead off the second inning, so you'd want your OBP there rather than in the #3 spot. Further, you can live with a low OBP guy in the #3 spot since you're assured that in at least one of his at-bats, he won't be your leadoff hitter (unless you're Lou and you bat him in the #1 hole!).

I recall Bill James discussing lineup construction in one of his Abstracts, looking at a lineup in two discreet chunks of table setters and table clearers.

That said, my overriding preference is to alternate L and R hitters where possible, to reduce the vulnerability to the opposition's bullpen.
   86. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 10, 2008 at 03:27 PM (#2665360)
I have a question that has been bugging me since last year. Ronny Cedeno has been great in each of his two shots at AAA Iowa (.355/.403/.518 at age 22 and .359/.422/.537 at age 24). Cedeno's ZIPS projection is a little bit better than Theriot's (slightly worse on-base skills but more power). Cedeno plays better SS defense than Theriot and is three years younger. Why does no one talk about Cedeno as a viable threat to take over the SS job this year?

I know that Cedeno hasn't exactly distinguished himself at the MLB level, while Theriot has almost held his own. I know that Lou loves scrappy little Theriot. But isn't Cedeno currently the Cubs best option at SS for 2008 and beyond? Am I missing something (other than they are both mediocre SS anyway)?


I think their defense is close, but Theriot is more consistent. Cedeno is more error-prone I believe, but makes the tougher and flashier plays. Cedeno also makes a lot of other fundamental mistakes (ie throwing to the wrong base) that don't count as errors. Theriot is a better base runner, and takes more pitches and walks; Cedeno is a free swinger and strikes out a lot more. Cedeno definitely has a higher upside, but he hasn't shown that consistently in the majors (and to be honest, I'm not sure he's gotten that great of a shot to prove himself). Theriot is also probably a better bunter.

Maybe Lou does love the scrappiness, but I also think he likes the consistency (although Theriot did go through some extended slumps last season). I would have loved for Ronny to get the FT gig last year, but I'm ok if he's used as part of a trade for Roberts.
   87. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: January 10, 2008 at 03:29 PM (#2665362)
yes but ZiPs and projections in general seem to fail on high upside C's a lot, seems every season a young C gets flagged as .800+ OPS, gets all hyped up in the fantasy circle and fails to reach that level and in my opinion this season it will be Soto.

You're free to have that opinion of course, but this exactly isn't a whole lot of objective evidence. If you're right, good for you. But I'd rather put my money on the projection.
   88. Sweet Posted: January 10, 2008 at 05:29 PM (#2665533)
Maybe Lou does love the scrappiness, but I also think he likes the consistency (although Theriot did go through some extended slumps last season).

April - .676
May - .697
June - .548
July - .920
August - .668
September - .520

Not knocking you, Moses, but I'd say Theriot's season comprised two extended slumps separated by one hot streak. That's the kind of consistency I can do without.

Apart from 150 hot PAs in 2006, there's nothing in Theriot's major- or minor-league record that suggests he should be starting for a team with playoff aspirations.
   89. Red Robot Posted: January 10, 2008 at 07:05 PM (#2665632)
Not knocking you, Moses, but I'd say Theriot's season comprised two extended slumps separated by one hot streak. That's the kind of consistency I can do without. Apart from 150 hot PAs in 2006, there's nothing in Theriot's major- or minor-league record that suggests he should be starting for a team with playoff aspirations.


I'm a Mets fan living in Chicago, and I watch most Cubs games because I can't stand Hawk Harrelson. Lou got on the Theriot train in Spring Training, before he had any chance to see any consistency, and as pointed out above, Theriot is actually quite streaky with the bat. His defense does seem to be better than I realized

Cedeno definitely has a higher upside, but he hasn't shown that consistently in the majors (and to be honest, I'm not sure he's gotten that great of a shot to prove himself).


Cedeno was handed the every-day SS as a 23-year-old job in 2006 and struggled mightily, hitting .245/.271/.339 in 534 AB, providing incentive for the Cubs to trade Maddux to LA for Cesar Izturis (oops). Last year, Cedeno was called up after mashing AAA but never got a chance to assert himself, generally being used as a PH. For what it's worth (very little), Cedeno got four starts in the final two weeks of the season, going 8 for 19 with a couple HR.

I think their defense is close, but Theriot is more consistent. Cedeno is more error-prone I believe, but makes the tougher and flashier plays. Cedeno also makes a lot of other fundamental mistakes (ie throwing to the wrong base) that don't count as errors.


Cedeno does make more errors than Theriot, but (at least according to BP's metrics), Cedeno is above average at SS and a win better than Theriot with the glove. Theriot really is a 2B playing SS, and his range and arm suffer for it. Perhaps there are other fundamental mistakes by Cedeno that the metrics aren't noticing, but I don't think that Theriot's below-average defense can really be a point for him in this discussion.

The thing that gets me is that these two players provide similar value now, but Cedeno's flaws are the type that can be learned (better footwork would improve his poor throwing; young players can improve plate discipline) while Theriot is more or less stuck with his flaws (he's a 28-year-old second baseman, albeit a very fundamentally sound one). I will be very interested to see how Ronny develops if he lands that starting gig in Baltimore this year.
   90. Walt Davis Posted: January 10, 2008 at 07:36 PM (#2665664)
Theriot's season comprised two extended slumps separated by one hot streak. That's the kind of consistency I can do without.

Sub-700 OPSs for a SS are commonplace. 12 teams last year got sub-700 OPS out of SS -- the Cubs were one (27th overall). If Theriot and Cedeno hit those projections, the Cubs will be about 20th in MLB in SS hitting.

And of course most player's month-to-month performance is highly variable ... a lot of them can be written off as nothing more than 1 or 2 hot months. Just how it is.

Apart from 150 hot PAs in 2006, there's nothing in Theriot's major- or minor-league record that suggests he should be starting for a team with playoff aspirations.

Not this again. Most good team, even WS-winning teams, have at least one "major hole" in their lineup. Heck, the Boston SS hit worse than the Cub SS last year. As long as Theriot and Cedeno can play average defense, the Cubs' lineup can easily carry their bats.

NYY -- 23rd at 1B
Cleveland -- 30th at 2B
Colorado -- 24th at 2B
Philly -- 27th at 3B
Cleveland -- 21st at 3B
Boston -- 29th at SS
Cubs -- 27th at SS
Cleveland -- 25th at LF
Cubs -- 25th at CF
Boston -- 24th at CF
Arizona -- 30th at RF
Cleveland -- 25th at RF
Angels -- 13th at DH (AL only)

So each playoff team stunk at at least one position. Cleveland stunk it up at 4 positions and somehow still managed to finish in the middle of the AL in runs and win 96 games.

Obviously it would be nice if the Cubs improved at SS and CF (amazingly Cub Cs weren't THAT bad) without declining elsewhere. They seem most intent on improving 2B though, so what can you do?

Oh yeah, other stuff ... didn't realize (or forgot) Guzman had TJS. And yes, the Cubs might trade SP depth for Roberts. Bad idea in my opinion for that very reason ... they will need that SP depth and the upgrade from DeRosa to Roberts isn't worth it. Heck, by those projections, Fontenot isn't far off an average 2B.

And #72, that was completely uncalled for.
   91. jayjay Posted: January 10, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#2665687)
So many other young players (upper-level prospects) have had poor ZiPS projections, yet Soto -- with just one good minor-league season under his belt -- is projected to be one of the better hitting catchers in the majors. Why is this?
   92. Spahn Insane Posted: January 10, 2008 at 08:20 PM (#2665703)
And #72, that was completely uncalled for.

I think it was tongue-in-cheek, in response to an earlier post.
   93. Sweet Posted: January 10, 2008 at 09:07 PM (#2665740)
Not this again. Most good team, even WS-winning teams, have at least one "major hole" in their lineup. Heck, the Boston SS hit worse than the Cub SS last year. As long as Theriot and Cedeno can play average defense, the Cubs' lineup can easily carry their bats.

Understood, Walt, but that wasn't my point -- I'm not saying that Theriot *couldn't* start for a team that is good enough to make the playoffs. (Obviously, since he did last year.) But that doesn't mean he *should* be the starter on Opening Day. If a team could magically know in January that one of its players would rank 20th or lower in OPS among players at his position (and that he wouldn't be a great fielder), and if that team had playoff aspirations (and thus less incentive to try and develop a young player in the majors), that team should try to find a superior option at that position. And, to be fair, we don't *know* that about Theriot, but the evidence strongly suggests it's the case. And maybe the Cubs are looking for someone else. But that's not the sense I get.

yet Soto -- with just one good minor-league season under his belt -- is projected to be one of the better hitting catchers in the majors. Why is this?

Well, it wasn't just a "good minor-league season," it was a "truly outstanding minor-league season plus an excellent month in the majors." I'd certainly be happy if Soto hits that projection, but I won't be that surprised.
   94. jayjay Posted: January 11, 2008 at 01:32 AM (#2665862)
Fine, it was a "truly outstanding" minor-league season, not just good. But, Soto's slugging percentages the last five seasons (High A, AA, and three years at AAA): .316, .401, .342, .383, .652
   95. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 11, 2008 at 01:46 AM (#2665870)
yet Soto -- with just one good minor-league season under his belt -- is projected to be one of the better hitting catchers in the majors. Why is this?

He has been very young for his levels. Particularly in 2005 and still young for his level in 2006.
   96. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 11, 2008 at 01:48 AM (#2665871)
The thing that gets me is that these two players provide similar value now, but Cedeno's flaws are the type that can be learned (better footwork would improve his poor throwing; young players can improve plate discipline) while Theriot is more or less stuck with his flaws (he's a 28-year-old second baseman, albeit a very fundamentally sound one).

I agree one million percent.
   97. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 11, 2008 at 01:50 AM (#2665872)
Re: Soto

Those are also some tough hitting environments before getting to Iowa. Remember how everyone was talking about the small army of great Cub pitchers in the system? Part of that was the league & park contexts.
   98. jayjay Posted: January 11, 2008 at 02:20 AM (#2665883)
Those are also some tough hitting environments before getting to Iowa.

I'm not sure I understand that argument, considering he has spent the last three seasons in Iowa:

2005 - .253/.357/.342
2006 - .269/.351/.383
2007 - .353/.424/.652

Young for his age and league and park contexts and he lost a bunch of weight, fine, but a helluva jump there. When was the last time a player made such a huge leap his previous minor-league track record?

I'm not saying I don't think Soto will have some success in the majors. I'm just not nearly as convinced as seemingly everybody else.
   99. jayjay Posted: January 11, 2008 at 02:22 AM (#2665884)
Hmm... why does "Edit comment" not appear anymore? I meant to say, When was the last time a player made such a huge leap above his previous minor-league track record?
   100. Walt Davis Posted: January 11, 2008 at 03:29 AM (#2665929)
I think it was tongue-in-cheek, in response to an earlier post.

At least one of us is being too subtle in his humor.

Hmm... why does "Edit comment" not appear anymore?

The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt not Edit in Transaction Oracle

I agree one million percent.

I see that and raise it to a billion percent.

Sweet in #93 -- agreed though barring a Tejada trade, I'm not sure there were any substantial upgrades out there. And, Murton fan though I try to be, I think Fukudome was a more important move than anything we could do about SS.

The Murton/Soto/Cedeno trio are an interesting set to understand ZiPS -- although I'm sure they all make perfect sense a la Dan's Murton detail. Murton's been mediocre in his last 800 MLB PAs but is pulled up by an excellent 2005 and 150 top-notch AAA PAs in 2007. Cedeno stunk in his 750 MLB PA but has torn it up in AAA ... and actually that does pull up his projection substantially I guess (620 MLB OPS to a 712 projection). Soto had an awesome 2007 and is now Gary Carter.

It's probably Murton where I have the least faith in the impact of his MLEs. He had an excellent 2005 and a below-average 2006. In 2007, he was below-average at MLB (though a sizeable chunk of that might be crappy PH performance as everyone not named Mota or Burgess is a crappy PH). I'm just tempted to completely ignore an age 25 AAA performance by a guy who's already established he's at least an average MLB hitter. I know, ZiPS is essentially saying it's not Murton's fault that his AAA time coincided with his hot streak -- and almost all hitter's seasons are just a mix of hot, cold, normal stretches -- and I don't have a rational argument against that.

OK, rambling. I guess what I'm saying is that I look at minor-league performance from a "what does this tell me about the guy" perspective and Murton's 2007 AAA stint doesn't add any information to me. That probably means I'm wrong to expect a 25 y.o. MLB average hitter to tear up AAA to that extent.

Anyway, I'm curious. Is there an age where MLE-MLB projections start to break down. I'd imagine the sample size to test this is small -- basically AAAA types. But they usually get labelled that way and teams don't give them enough MLB PA to really test as at best they're usually bench players. But there may be enough individual cases for a quick look and then some pooled performance might be indicative of something.

In case Dan doesn't have enough to do already.
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